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World Anti-Doping Agency Wants Russia Banned From Athletics Competitions

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) says that the Russian athletics federation should be suspended after an independent commission found evidence of state-sponsored doping.

The agency called for an investigation after Germany's public broadcaster ARD/WDR aired a documentary that alleged Russia had a doping system in which doctors, athletes and coaches were all involved.

The independent commission found that the Russian athletics federation (ARAF), the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) and Track and Field's governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) were to blame for systemic failures.

It was so bad, the investigation found, that the 2012 Olympic Games were "sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing, and could have been prevented from competing, were it not for the collective and inexplicable laissez-faire policy adopted by the IAAF, ARAF and RUSADA."

Reporting from Moscow, NPR's Corey Flintoff says that Russia is rejecting the allegations.

"The acting head of Russia's Athletic Federation says that WADA doesn't have the authority to suspend his organization from world sports," Corey said. "He said he hopes the International Association of Athletic Federations won't carry out the suspension."

The IAAF said its president, Sebastian Coe, was seeking approval from the IAAF Council Members to consider sanctions against Russia.

In a statement, Coe said:

"The information in WADA's Independent Commissions Report is alarming. We need time to properly digest and understand the detailed findings included in the report. However, I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against ARAF. This step has not been taken lightly. Our athletes, partners and fans have my total assurance that where there are failures in our governance or our anti-doping programs we will fix them."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.